Artist. Renowned American painter and illustrator, most remembered for his paintings depicting American life and American values at their best. Born in New York City, he had a desire to be an artist from a very young age. At age 14, he enrolled in the Chase School of Art (later, New York School of Art). In 1910, he left to study art at the National Academy of Design, and later transferred to the Art Students League, where he studied with famed artists Thomas Fogarty and George Bridgman. He found success early, painting his first commissioned pieces before his 16th birthday. As a teenager, he was hired as the Art Director for "Boy's Life" the official publication of the Boy Scouts of America. Settling in to New Rochelle, New York, he set up a studio, producing artwork for various magazines. In 1916, he sold his first painting to "The Saturday Evening Post" magazine, and began a relationship that lasted 47 years. When he moved his family to Arlington, Vermont, his works began to reflect small-town America. In 1943, inspired by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, he painted the "Four Freedoms" considered by many to be his finest work. His style included painting himself into any large crowd scenes. In 1953, the family moved to Stockbridge, Massachusetts, where his wife, Mary, died unexpectedly in 1959. In 1961, he married another school teacher, Molly Punderson, and two years later, ended his 47 year work with "Saturday Evening Post" to move on to "Look" magazine, for who he worked the next ten years. In 1973, he established a trust to preserve his artistic legacy with the Stockbridge Historical Society, who founded the Norman Rockwell Museum. In 1977, in failing health, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor for an American citizen. He died at his home in Stockbridge in 1978.
Bio by: Kit and Morgan Benson